inspired by Nancy’s determination and courage to ‘do the dream’

Nancy enjoying Aussie sunshine: a world away from Canada’s winter!

A mutual friend (thank you, Janice!) introduced me to Nancy Veinot. We immediately recognized kindred spirits for hiking, activity, fun and adventure and our friendship has grown since that day in 2015.

Nancy’s vibrant spirit, energy, and curiosity for LIFE continues to inspire me; in sharing this story I hope you too will be encouraged to follow your dreams – at any age!

Nancy isn’t one to attract attention to herself, but in conversations during the hours we’ve spent hiking, camping, paddling, climbing a mountain, she’s been filling me in on some of her history; like she’s lived “forever” in a small community in rural Nova Scotia, has two fun-loving sisters (true – I’ve met them) and two brothers, and hard-working parents.

All interesting bits to know. But most fascinating to hear are her travel and adventure stories which she’s experienced since a day in January of 2012 – when Nancy slid a retirement notice under her employer’s office door.

Nancy had worked full time for thirty years at a manufacturing company in her community (and was grateful for this work and benefits) – but there were no options or opportunities to change that schedule to do “other exciting things”.

She didn’t need time to contemplate what she was going to do for the rest of her life. Her first adventure was already planned – based on a seed of an idea that started at a dental appointment. She heard about WWOOFing.

Willing Workers On Organic Farms – a worldwide community linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange. People aged 18-80 can participate in this exchange of culture and volunteer labour for food and accommodation: for between 4-6 hrs/day or 30 hrs of work/week.

In Nancy’s mind, to be one of these Willing Workers was going to be her opportunity for an inexpensive way to travel to do the things she had been dreaming to do someday. New activities, meeting people, foreign cultures. Going WWOOFingwas on a page in the back of my mind” for 12 years!

A country gal is familiar with working with chickens.

She researched potential countries to go to, wrote and submitted bios of her experience, skills and objectives. And kept the plan close to her chest – with the exception of her closest family members and her husband “who really thought (or hoped) that I was just talking through my hat and that this was only a brainstorm” .

Three weeks after that day of submitting the retirement notice Nancy was on a plane to go WWOOFing in Australia. Why there?

The dream to travel Down Under began in Nancy’s elementary school days where teachers “fed my personal curiosity for travel and adventure with songs like Waltzing Matilda and KookaburraSits in an Old Gum Tree”. And knowing the exchange host supplies accommodation and food and a WWOOF-er pays for travel expenses to reach that location, Nancy chose a far-reaching destination where she’d probably not return to – and planned for a three-month stay, not pushing too hard on her husband’s well-wishes to go away and explore! Also mindful of aging parents who tried to be encouraging but couldn’t hide their emotions, Nancy chose a phone and internet-accessible continent for everyone’s peace of mind.

Nancy’s smile and curiosity: welcome, comfortable openings for meeting new friends.

Nancy loved wwoofing: it didn’t disappoint her in its variety and adventure. Here’s her summary of a few experiences:

  • Worked for host near Sydney – labelled jars of honey, did plantings on the property, helped install gyproc, did some painting.  He made a lot of beer.  Of course, I had to help him by sampling.
  • Stayed with host in the Kalamundra Hills near Perth. Gathered eggs from 350 ‘chooks’, collected drops from passion fruit, watered 14 Dorper sheep, deadheaded roses, went to Farm Market and sold eggs, chutneys, jams, passion fruit. And walked her dog.
  • Went across the Nullabor Plain by train – Adelaide to Perth – 42 hrs – wow-o-wow-o-wow 2500 km. The 478K plain is the longest straightest stretch of rail in the world. Two scheduled stops on entire trip: one extra drop off for 18-year old German lad – in the middle of NOWHERE where his driver met him.  He was going to work on a sheep station, over 3-hr drive from the train station across the plains – on a farm with more than 1 million acres and 50,000 sheep.
  • Spent a few days on the Great Ocean Road with a host who took me in because I was a “mature age wwoofer”, we harvested veggies, traded recipes, I helped her butcher a kangaroo. We visited all of her family.
  • At the beach every day with my host (she was an architect) in Turquay – surf capital of AU. Checked on the hooded plover nests for predators, harvested veggies, attended a Harvest Festival and outdoor Opera Concert in Melbourne – a huge picnic setting with people of all ages… we shared meals and bottles of wine.
  • Bit of a scare: almost missed ferry to go to Tasmania – took the wrong tram and went downhill and not uphill! Quickly took taxi to ferry terminal. I had a paid reservation, they were calling my name as I boarded the ferry – last person on.

So I ask, while reading Nancy’s story have you been reminded of a dream that’s been sitting in the back of your mind – or nurturing a seed that’s still in the idea stage?

If you’re hesitating, what is holding you back?

Are you fearful you’re too old or too young, or what others will think, or that there are too many unknowns?

I asked Nancy”…what would you say to a woman – of any age – but particularly in the 55+ stage of life, about moving beyond the perimeter of what’s normal?”

“Know that others have gone before you and succeeded – you are no different.  Confidence and common sense will guide you.  Do it – don’t take your health for granted.  Time is running out. For me, each adventure motivates me to do more while I am able.”

Thank you Nancy: for inspiring us to be curious, determined, patient and courageous in taking steps towards our dreams.

None of us know how long we’ll be able – follow your dreams, my friends!

Nancy, me, Janice – kindred adventure friends!

I would be happy to hear about your dreams and if you’re ready to launch!

Love and gratitude,  


P.S. Whatever stage of life you’re in – my desire is you will be rejuvenated with healthy food, physical movement, living with purpose and joy. If you feel stuck in moving towards any of these desires – or the dreams that call your name – let’s connect for a complimentary short chat to help make this happen for you. I’m available here or at

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7 Comments on “inspired by Nancy’s determination and courage to ‘do the dream’

  1. What a great summary of Nancy’s first big adventure. She is a great motivator.


  2. I enjoyed reading your well-written story about my delightful cousin. I would like to add… that Nancy is a kind person and has always made me and others feel included and important.


  3. Pingback: Adventure is in the Air – Karen Toews

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